Out and About: Temescal Canyon Park

The Boy and I have been participating in a weekly photo challenge this year with some friends – actually, maybe I’ll start posting my results here as well – and when the challenge was “Land,” we decided to take a photo walk that turned into more of a hike than we perhaps intended at Temescal Canyon Gateway Park.

Hikers on Rocks

Tesmescal Canyon Park is set in the Santa Monica mountains, and has a bunch of popular and not-too-crazy-difficult hiking trails you can take that often reward you with impressive ocean views. We (somewhat unintentionally) probably did about 5-6 miles round trip since once we got to the top of the ridge, the Boy insisted we follow the signs another mile or two to see Skull Rock, which looks exactly how you’d expect it to (but, yes, it was cool and exercise is good).

Hiking Trail

The trails are well-defined, though there is certainly a lot of ascension (and descent), but we saw tons of families handling it without too much difficulty. Conveniently, the paths intersect enough that you can tailor your hike to your own abilities with a bit of planning.

It feels very Californian, with cacti and sandy rocks and drought-friendly (or so I can only assume) foliage. There’s plenty of street parking, along with a paid lot, which is also key to L.A. activity enjoyment.

Hiking Views

Not a bad view, eh? Remember that as you’re sweating your way up the mountain…

Temescal Canyon Gateway Park
15601 Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Eating In: Turkey-Veggie Meatloaf

And NOW to those healthy recipes I’ve been promising! The Boy saw something about Whole 30, decided that was healthy (no argument there), and put us on it until he realized we couldn’t have any dairy and hence couldn’t have our usual glasses of milk to drink…so a modified Whole-30-ish healthy route was laid out instead. We were delighted to discover a meal plan on The Nourishing Home, and selected a few recipes to kick off the New Year right.

Turkey-Veggie Meatloaf & Green Beans

First up – this turkey-veggie meatloaf. I haven’t made meatloaf in a long time, if ever, and of course it does have a bit of a…reputation. Still, the recipe was pretty straightforward, and we were trying to be healthy, so… Continue reading

Eating In: Potatoes with Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette

Ok, this is not a “New Year” recipe. We’ve got some of those coming. But this IS a delicious, cook-with-what-you’ve-got-on-hand, I-need-comfort-food-fast recipe. And to that I say: yes, please.

Potatoes with Soft Eggs and Bacon Viniagrette

A recipe from the infallible Deb Perelman of the amazing blog Smitten Kitchen, it is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – Potatoes with Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette. Continue reading

Eating Out(ish) in PA: New Year’s Eve Dinner

This year, the Boy and I celebrated the arrival of 2017 with my Mom’s family in Pennsylvania, and instead of eating out we feasted on an incredible nine-course meal courtesy of my talented Aunt Libby, who did the whole thing without help and without the benefit of a kitchen sink, since her kitchen was currently being renovated. Yep. No sink, nine courses. Although those of you who weren’t present will never be able to track this meal down to relive it in real life, I figured I’d be remiss not to brag about it – I mean, share it – with you.

New Year's Eve Dinner Menus

Note that the menus changed a bit from what was written to actual execution, but who even cares…oh, and shout out to Dad for all the wine pairings! Seriously, why do I even bother with reservations? Continue reading

Eating In: Salted Brûléed Apple Tart

Yes, I know it’s January, and we’re supposed to be all resolutions and salad, but I made pies over the holidays and I was too busy to post them and so, you’re getting them now. And heck, at least one of you out there made the resolution to bake more, right? Just nod.

Anyway, this brings me to the Salted Brûléed Apple Tart from Kelly Jaggers’s Not-So-Humble Pies: An Iconic Dessert, All Dressed Up.

Salted Brûléed Apple Tart

Continue reading

Eating In: Portobello Steaks with Avocado Chimichurri

Well, you can definitely tell we’ve hit the holiday season by how sporadic these blog posts are getting…I’m doing my best! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving (hope you did too) and I’ll be back with some holiday desserts soon. In the meantime, here’s another healthy, veggie-centric meal to help balance out all those holiday treats.

Portobello Steaks with Avocado Chimichurri

All credit goes to Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker for the recipe (my second one in a row – apparently you’d all better stop reading this blog and go read that one) – Portobello Steaks with Avocado Chimichurri. Continue reading

Eating In: Roasted Broccoli, Sweet Potato, & Chickpea Salad

And suddenly we’re in November, and the madness of the holidays  is upon us! There are already far too many events and parties piling up on the calendar, not to mention the sweets and drinks and all kinds of delicious temptations that go along with them. As a result, we’re trying to really stay on the quick-and-healthy track when we cook at home (easier said than done).

Which brings me to this “salad” from Minimalist Baker – warm, simple, healthy, and delicious. Oh, and quick. Weeknights, it’s gotta be quick.

Roasted Broccoli, Sweet Potato, & Chickpea Salad

The main players are broccoli, sweet potato, and chickpeas. Red peppers were optional in Dana’s recipe, but the Boy is not a fan so I subbed in some shiitake mushrooms we happened to have on hand. The veggies get chopped and the chickpeas get tossed in oil and a myriad of spices.

The veggies go into the oven to roast, and meanwhile you whip up an easy and very yummy sauce that involves garlic, dill, and hummus.

Garlic Dill Sauce

Ingredients for Roasted Broccoli, Sweet Potato, & Chickpea Salad

The veggies come out toasty and golden, and get piled artistically (or not, whatever, you’re just gonna eat it) on a plate and drizzled with dressing. Salad? Sure-ish. It’s a mess of vegetables, but it’s warm and hearty and roasty, not like a lot of salads I’ve known. And I have to say, I like it all the better for it.

Roasted Broccoli, Sweet Potato, & Chickpea Salad

Roasted Broccoli, Sweet Potato, & Chickpea Salad
Adapted slightly from Dana Schultz of Minimalist Baker

I imagine this is another adaptable recipe, since it’s essentially just a bunch of roasted veggies with an addicting creamy-yet-still-healthy sauce. After all, I did the easy peppers-to-mushrooms swap from the original, and I’d bet depending on the season you could get quite creative. Still, the chickpeas and the sweet potatoes lend a nice meatiness, so I’d try this version first.

Yield: 2 Servings
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

1 large or two small sweet potatoes
1 head broccoli, torn, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup mushrooms, chopped into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Healthy pinch each salt and black pepper

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tandoori masala spice
1 teaspoon sugar
Healthy pinch sea salt
Pinch red pepper flakes

Garlic Dill Sauce
1/3 cup hummus
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Water to thin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add rinsed dried chickpeas to a mixing bowl and season with oil, tandoori spice, sugar and salt. Toss to combine.

Add sweet potatoes and chickpeas to one sheet, and the broccoli to another. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper – toss to combine. Arrange in a single layer.

Bake both for a total of 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans once near the halfway point. You can flip the sweet potatoes over to encourage even baking, but it’s not necessary. You’ll know the broccoli is done when it’s golden brown, the sweet potatoes will be tender, and the chickpeas will begin firming up and taking on a slight crunch. Set aside.

While vegetables and chickpeas are baking, prepare dressing by adding hummus, garlic, dill and lemon juice to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Then add only enough water to thin until pourable. Set aside.

To serve, divide vegetables and chickpeas between two serving plates and drizzle with dressing.

At Home: Last-Minute Halloween Decor

I enjoy most holidays – Christmas is probably my favorite, but I’m an equal-opportunity celebrater. For Halloween, I always try to go all out on the costume front. I also enjoy decorating, but as our home is not a trick-or-treating hot spot and life is busy, I don’t put as much into Halloween decor as I do into Christmas, when we tend to throw a party and people actually see the decorations. Still, I can’t do NOTHING, which brings me too…the easiest Halloween decor in all the land.

Halloween Decor

Continue reading